Food for a Thousand – A Garden of Community

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church’s Food For a Thousand garden in Albany, Georgia is a true lesson in community.  Dedicated church parishioners and Dougherty County Master Gardener Extension volunteers (MGEVs) maintain this space and harvest the produce.  Dougherty County 4-H volunteers even lend a hand.  All of the produce is donated to two local food pantries and a rescue mission.   This is an impressive operation.

Food for a Thousand - A Garden of Community
Dougherty County 4-Hers plant tomatoes.

The garden was originally envisioned by a UGA Master Gardener and the first shovel of dirt was turned  in 2013.  The gardeners said the first year was a learning year.  But, the gardeners learned quickly and in 2014 they harvested and donated over 1,000 pounds of needed food.  In 2015 that number was also impressive at 933 pounds.  Because of the warmer temperature this fall, the group was harvesting through mid-December.

Food for a Thousand - A Garden of Community
Deerfield-Windsor School 4-Hers help harvest chard.

Understandably, the gardeners are proud of their garden and their efforts.  The hard work of gardening and organizing so many volunteers from various organizations is on-going.  It is a true labor of love.

Fr. Jay Weldon of St. Patrick’s said “Food for a Thousand, for its inception, has been different than most community gardens.  As it is St. Patrick’s signature ministry, we call it a mission garden, by which we mean that 100% of what is grown will always be given away to those in need.  That has always been our goal, and through today it has been a reality.”

Happy Gardening!

Becky Griffin
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